Questions related to the perception and measurement of light (primarily in the visible range), its mathematical description, the reproduction of colors by different means, color combinations, etc. Please use the tag [electromagnetic-radiation] if you want to refer to the general form of light.

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Are “phase-specific” masks ever used in the context of double exposure lithography? Can these sorts of things exist?

I was recently reading an 08' paper on double exposure lithography: and I was wondering if there existed some material that could be used to create a mask for e.g. a 193 nm light source that was only ...
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1answer
47 views

Why isn't ray optics applicable for marginal rays?

I have been studying light and going a little bit ahead I studied about ray optics and one thing each book had in notes is ray optics is applicable only for paraxial rays not marginals rays, I was ...
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1answer
882 views

Why does light travel at finite speed? [duplicate]

We have known for quite some time now that light travels at a finite speed of 3x10^8m/s (approx) through vacuum. But why is that? Why can't the speed be infinite? Or at least higher than the current ...
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2answers
120 views

How to produce a loss-free combination of two “identical” beams?

This is for anyone with experience in optics/imaging/photography as well as anyone who likes to puzzle over tricky physics problems. As the title suggests, this is about combining two (for all ...
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1answer
113 views

How is the orientation of an electromagnetic wave determined?

I was looking up for how polarisers work, I understood mostly everything except the part that explains that the polariser filters everything except light that is in a certain orientation. Here are my ...
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1answer
927 views

Didn't Newton's Corpuscular theory fail to explain reflection?

In 1637 Descartes gave the corpuscular model of light and derived Snell's law. This Corpuscular model of light was further developed by Isaac Newton in his famous book entitled OPTICKS and because of ...
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3answers
543 views

Does brightness of the light remains constant with the variation of the distance with respect to the source in vaccum?

I have this question going in my mind from many days, i.e why brightness of light emitted from any light source around us decreases with distance? The brightness of light from tube light, streetlight, ...
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2answers
72 views

What gives an object its colour?

My understanding of colour is that atoms in a particular object will absorb certain wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, and the scattered wavelengths give the object its colour. The absorbed ...
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3answers
127 views

How to smooth the spectrum of a light source?

Could somebody please tell me if there's a reasonably cheap substance or device can I use to smooth the spectrum of a light source? For example, if the spectrum has spikes as in the blue graph below, ...
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3answers
836 views

Can a glass window protect from heat radiation?

I have been reading in this and found a statement saying : " Glass will not transmit heat radiation.". So now I am confused. If glass won't transmit heat radiation, then why do we feel hot when we sit ...
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0answers
29 views

Light pulses and energy-time uncertainty principle [duplicate]

Suppose we have a monochromatic light beam. We put an obstacle between source and observer and remove it repeatedly by certain frequency such that observer sees an oscillating intensity of light. Will ...
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1answer
201 views

Why does a light wave invert at a boundary with greater index of refraction?

Is there a reason why a EM wave reflects invertedly when it meets a boundary point with a greater index of refraction. In the case of ropes, if remember correctly, the reason why it inverts is to ...
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1answer
196 views

Is Huygen's Principle Axiomatic?

Is Huygens Principle just a fundamental way to understand light? It always seemed to me that it was somehow "derived" or that it should be-but is it simply a well-founded theory?
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1answer
154 views

The effect of dark lines in the Sun's spectrum on reflected paint/ color

Its well known that the Sun's spectrum is not continuous, and that there are dark bands within the suns spectrum. Is it possible to produce a color of paint that is bright in, say, indoor lighting and ...
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2answers
114 views

What is the transmittance function of a photo filter?

The effect of some photo filters can be summarized in transmission curves such as this one: I do not understand which physical value is modified by the value labeled as "Diffuse Density" in the ...
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3answers
2k views

All objects radiate energy, but we cannot see all objects in the dark. Why?

We claim that all objects radiate energy by virtue of their temperature and yet we cannot see all objects in the dark. Why not?
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3answers
473 views

How would neutron matter appear to the naked eye?

Neutron matter is matter comprised entirely of neutrons, as it exists in neutron stars. Most optical phenomena encountered in everyday life, such as light reflection and spectral absorption (i.e. ...
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1answer
48 views

Visible Lines for Hydrogen

Say H atoms are excited to 4th level, n=4 that is, how many lines do we see? How to decide the number of the lines?
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1answer
487 views

Infinite fringes in double-slit interference

My professor told us that the fringes formed by interference will always be countable or finite. But I am just wondering, if, it is possible to have infinite fringes? Is there such a case? I am ...
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1answer
382 views

Polarized sunglasses: should the axes in both lenses be parallel?

See the pictures below. A pair of sunglasses I recently purchased has the polarization axis in one lens offset about 20 degrees (by eyeball estimation) from the other. I don't have much experience ...
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1answer
194 views

What gives substances their color?

As far as i know (i may be wrong!), substances appear to have a definite color because they reflect/ transmit all the light rays of the given color, and absorb all the lights rays of the remaining ...
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1answer
369 views

Radio vs optical telescope imaging

As I understand, the visible light from an optical telescope is focused on a sensor which correlates light exposure to an electrical voltage, which is then converted to an image. A single antenna ...
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3answers
492 views

Reflections in Rearview Mirror

Why is it that in the reflection in the rear view mirror of your vehicle in the car behind you The driver is on the drivers side and the passenger is on the passenger side and when they raise thier ...
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0answers
62 views

Why is condensed milk glowing green under UV?

Teeth, nails and also сгущёнка (condensed milk) are glowing green when exposed to black light. What do they have in common? Is it a specific luminophore substance?
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2answers
66 views

Temperature-induced wavelength shift of optical coatings?

Optical coatings designed for reflection or anti-reflection are made of many thin layers which will expand when heated. What will the effect be on the wavelengths the coating will reflect when the ...
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1answer
107 views

Predominant light frequency over the day?

I'm not well-versed in physics, so I hope you'll forgive me if this question is significantly off the mark. I'm interested in the predominant frequencies of light over the course of one day. My ...
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0answers
85 views

Why do I get different colours in scratched holograms?

I was making a scratched holograms and in result got different colours instead of white hologram
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3answers
421 views

Is an atom-thick sheet of a material visible and tangible?

If one could make a sheet of a material (thickness of an atom), Aluminum for example, would it be visible to naked eyes? What about tangibility? would it be tactile by human finger skin?
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6answers
2k views

Photons from stars--how do they fill in such large angular distances?

It would seem that far-away stars are at such a distance that I should be able to take a step to the side and not have the star's photons hit my eye. How do stars release so many photons to fill in ...
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1answer
146 views

Concentration of photons: How many can you slow down in a given unit of space?

Being able to slow down light to the speed of a bicicle as shown in this vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK6HxdUQm5s Led to a question: Given a unit of space e.g. 1cm^3, and then you slowed down ...
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2answers
159 views

Gravitational Effect Versus the Speed of Light [duplicate]

If, for some reason, the sun were to suddenly disappear altogether, I would like to know the following: would we "feel" it first (i.e. being thrown into outer space due to no longer having anything ...
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1answer
234 views

Triboluminescence, how does it work? [duplicate]

I was browsing Reddit and I stumbled upon this. It is a video on making duct tape glow a blue light by pulling two pieces of duct tape apart. Appearntly the glowing is caused by something called ...
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2answers
561 views

Difference between Scattering and Fluorescence

It is often said that substances, objects have color because they selectively absorb all color of sunlight except one. The wavelength that is not absorbed reaches our eyes and we perceive it as ...
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3answers
127 views

Possibility for contact lenses that enhance the vibrancy of color

Would it be possible to develop oculars that would enhance the vibrancy of color? I know there are many digital filters to improve vibrancy, but are there physical devices able to produce the same ...
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2answers
112 views

Is ocean color affected by Rayleigh Scattering?

We know that sky color is due primarily to Rayleigh scattering. Is Rayleigh scattering the dominant effect for ocean color too?
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1answer
71 views

How does the light waves make up to my eye?

I was thinking about a situation were there is a group of people in a room. While all those people are observing something(none of them are blind) the light ways need to reach their respective eyes. ...
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6answers
531 views

Is antumbra part of shadow darker than penumbra part of shadow?

I'm exploring different types of shadows casted by objects. I want to know if antumbra part of a shadow is darker than penumbra part. I've found two misleading pictures on Wikipedia: First: Second: ...
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1answer
347 views

Lambert's cosine law

I am learning how to physically render images in computer graphics. I just saw that the area that gets light is given by the Lambert's cosine law. In my head it makes perfect sense the relation but ...
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2answers
182 views

Do any other particles get excited(or absorb energy) by photons like electrons?

Electrons get excited to different energy levels when photons of specific frequencies fall on them.But, is there other particles which absorb the energy of the photons?
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2answers
108 views

Length of solid part of object shadow

Little background first: I take part in preparing environmental reports for wind turbines/farms and now I'm exploring shadow flickering effect of moving blades. From some sources (in Polish) I got ...
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3answers
291 views

What electric field vector should I use for modeling unpolarized light?

Regardless of computational cost, light is a kind of electromagnetic wave, so it can be simulated with Maxwell's equations. If we want to simulate light with Maxwell's equations, we need to express ...
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2answers
263 views

How to test cutoff frequency of IR filter on camera?

Modern cell phones seems to come with IR filters on their cameras. I want to do an experiment to figure out what wavelengths these filters allow to pass and which they block. How would I go about ...
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1answer
1k views

How is light created?

I'm very curious about how light is created. I'm trying to get back to some type of real understanding about why everything on the sub-atomic level vibrates and the implications for the ...
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2answers
118 views

Will changing the color of the light source change the apparent brightness on a traffic light?

Let's say you have a traffic light with the well known red, yellow, and green tinted glasses. Setup 1: Each glass has a white light bulb behind it. Setup 2: Each glass has a colored bulb behind it ...
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1answer
79 views

is redshift still true if object emitting is not moving away but the observer is

If something is moving away fast it's color would appear redder than its actual color due to phenomenon known as Doppler effect. But what if the object isn't moving but i am moving away faster would ...
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1answer
178 views

How light causes increase in temperature

Temperature is the measure of movements of atoms. So if something is said to have high temperature it means that its atoms are moving fast or have high KE energy. There are basically two ways heat ...
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1answer
160 views

When an object casts a shadow, why are there different shades of that shadow?

Let's imagine that there is a lamp on the floor. There is a dice on that same floor casting a shadow from our light source, the lamp. Why is it that there are different shades of the shadow phasing ...
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2answers
553 views

Ways of achieving parallel rays of light?

I am thinking of ways of achieving parallel rays of light. Let's say I have an object that emits light, for instance the display of my mobile phone. The display emits rays of light in every ...
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2answers
248 views

Does light have an unending journey?

When we shine a torch in a room its light travels to the back of the room. What happens to the light of a star ? I dont suppose we can say it continues to travel to the back of the universe as the ...
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4answers
331 views

Color of a substance

A plant with green leaves viewed under red light would appear as which color?